No Salvation For ‘Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles’

On the eve of “Terminator Salvation’s” release this week, Entertainment Weekly’s Michael Ausiello brings word that Fox has officially canceled the struggling “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles,” which concluded its second season in April with a questions-raising. As a fan of the series, I had hoped Fox would capitalize on the positive buzz surrounding “Salvation” to give the series one last push, but it is not to be.

Television is usually outside of our coverage zone here on MTV Movies Blog, but the “Connor” cancellation is noteworthy because of the larger issues the show addressed with regards to the franchise. Since the “Chronicles” started, fans have understood that Lena Headey’s Sarah and Thomas Dekker’s John existed in an alternate timeline. This is all thanks to a plot twisting pilot in which the duo, along with sexy Terminatrix Cameron (Summer Glau), jump a decade forward in time to escape yet another Connor-hunting Skynet initiative.

More recent developments in the TV series suggested that creator Josh Friedman had a greater interest in the overarching franchise’s story than an alternate timeline might suggest. There’s always been a question out there in the ether relating to how John Connor was originally born. In James Cameron’s first “Terminator,” Linda Hamilton’s Sarah is impregnated by Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn) after he is sent back in time to protect her from Arnold Schwarzenegger’s T-800. That pregnancy of course results in John Connor, the future savior of humanity.

The big plot hole of course is how could Connor send his dad back in time if he wasn’t there to do it the first time? There must have been a point in the “Terminator” timeline during which Sarah met Kyle by other means. And here we come again to “The Sarah Connor Chronicles.”

Kyle Reese and his brother Derek (Brian Austin Green) factored somewhat heavily into the series’ later episodes. But the season two finale is what introduced the major game-changer: with some help from a liquid metal Terminatrix (Shirley Manson), John travels into the post-apocalyptic future. This future is a bit different from what we’ve seen before however. For one, Skynet has no knowledge of time travel. More importantly, John runs into the Reese brothers almost immediately after he arrives… and they don’t know who he is. This has led to rampant speculation within the “Terminator” fanbase that Friedman actually had his eye on telling the original John Connor story, the one in which he eventually sends Kyle back to unknowingly father humanity’s savior. Thus eliminating a potential paradox by introducing another to balance it.

Alas, it seems that now we will never know the truth. Maybe “Salvation” salvation will do gangbuster numbers at the box office, enough to re-spark interest in the series. It wouldn’t be the first time a TV show returned from cancellation death, though it seems highly unlikely in this case. With “Connor Chronicles” now officially canned, the best we’ll probably get is a now-unbound Friedman revealing what his plans were for the series.

A shame really, given the direction things looked to be going in. At least we have “Salvation” this week. Based on all of the early buzz, not to mention (perhaps premature) sequel rumblings, we haven’t heard the last gasp from the “Terminator” series.